Interoperability certification highlighted in white paper

By Jonathan Nally
Thursday, 30 January, 2020

Interoperability certification highlighted in white paper

Recognising the growing employment of 4G/LTE services by users considered to be within mission-critical sectors, as well as progress towards standardising mission-critical broadband services, industry body TCCA has released a new white paper outlining important certification issues.

The white paper covers what is required for the sector to certify mission-critical broadband solutions, and gives an appraisal of the current state of developments and what the next steps should be.

One of the main benefits of achieving standardisation and certification is that it will encourage the development of a vendor-agnostic market for products and services, thus helping customers avoid disadvantageous lock-in with a single vendor.

Multivendor markets bring price competition, encourage technological innovation, and result in broad portfolios of compatible equipment and services.

Such a situation has existed for quite some time in the TETRA sector, with TCCA’s TETRA Interoperability Certification Process (IOP) playing a large role in creating a level playing field.

According to TCCA, present and prospective mission-critical broadband users would like to have the same assurance of interoperability and certification for the solutions they use.

“TCCA’s TETRA IOP has been running successfully for more than 20 years, and will continue to do so. The IOP environment for critical broadband however is very different, as the hardware and software are separated — both on the infrastructure and on devices,” said Jeppe Jepsen, TCCA Board Co-Vice Chair, Director of Broadband Spectrum and driver of the white paper.

“This means different business models and new complexities that the sector will need to negotiate, and we encourage all interested parties to offer their support.”

Mission-critical broadband solutions utilising commercial networks have specific requirements, such as a very high degree of availability, priority, pre-emption, trusted security and extensive coverage. Only when such characteristics are in place can mission-critical services (MCX) be employed.

TCCA’s white paper describes what can be certified by a TCCA process and what will need to be certified by individual service providers.

TCCA and the Global Certification Forum have formed a joint taskforce that will spend the six months from January to June 2020 working on MCX certification issues.

In addition, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology has allocated funding to facilitate certification, while The University of the Basque Country has, in association with TCCA and other groups, been tasked with developing a test simulator over the next two years.

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